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On Wednesday, the Dow Jones slipped 17 points after the U.S. Federal Reserve released minutes from its January Federal Open Market Committee meeting. It seems the central bank is unlikely to raise interest rates in the near future. You can see our breakdown of yesterday's FOMC minutes here…
Today, investors shifted focus back to Europe, and kept an eye on global crude oil prices. Greece's leftist government announced plans to submit a request to extend its loan agreement for another six months. The news raises hopes for a last-minute deal to keep the country's finances in order. This week, we explained what the Greek debt debacle means for investors and how you should prepare for any outcome in the next two weeks.
Here's what else you should know about the stock market today – including your "Money Morning Tip of the Day" – to make it a profitable Thursday:
- Electric Shock: After many months of speculation, we now know Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is going into the electric car business. AAPL was outted by a lawsuit. On Wednesday, electric-car battery manufacturer A123 Systems filed suit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of poaching its top engineers. According to a court filing, Apple is planning to build its own large electric battery subsidiary. Additional reports indicate that Apple is also targeting auto and battery engineers at Elon Musk's Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA).
- Caveat Emptor: Buyers beware telecom giant AT&T Inc.'s (NYSE: T) new one gigabit-per-second Internet service. Customers have a choice to pay $70 per month or $99 per month for the service. Why the difference? Because the cheaper option allows the telecom company to track users' Internet habits on the Web. Buyers must shell out the extra $29 per month to keep AT&T away from their Internet habits.
- Solar Slump: Shares of SolarCity Corp. (Nasdaq: SCTY) slumped more than 5% Thursday morning on weaker-than-expected earnings reported in the fourth quarter. The solar manufacturer notched an adjusted loss of $1.33 per share, while the markets anticipated a loss of $1.27 per share. Meanwhile, SunEdison Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNE) also slipped nearly 4% pre-market after the company failed to meet Wall Street earnings expectations. SUNE reported quarterly sales of $625.5 million, falling short of consensus estimates of $663.3 million.
- Take a Picture: Shares of GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) slumped more than 11% late Wednesday afternoon, a day after the company's IPO lockup expired. Shares cratered after a circuit breaker triggered a short-sale restriction of the company's stock. With a huge amount of GPRO options set to expire on Friday, prospective buyers are hoping that GoPro shares continue their slide. GPRO stock was up slightly to 0.91% pre-market this morning. Money Morning experts recommend staying away from the portable sports cam manufacturer for now – here's why…
- Oil Prices Today: Crude oil prices continued to slide this morning as oversupply concerns rattle the markets. March 2015 futures for U.S. crude, priced at the NYMEX in New York City, slipped 4% to hit $50.03 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, priced in London, dipped another 2.5% this morning to fall below $59 per barrel.
- Earnings Reports: Today, expect earnings results from Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT), Toro Co. (NYSE: TTC), Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK), Teekay LNG Partners (NYSE: TGP), Teekay Offshore Partners (NYSE: TOO), T-Mobile US (NYSE: TMUS), Six Flags Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: SIX), Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL), Noodles & Co. (Nasdaq: NDLS), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL), Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSE: LNG), and Cheniere Energy Partners (NYSE: CQP).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar February 19, 2015 (NYSE: all times EST)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- PMI Manufacturing Index Flash at 9:45 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Survey at 10 a.m.
- Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 11 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Year FRN Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 7-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 30-Yr TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 a.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
Money Morning Tip of the Day: Cybersecurity stocks are volatile in the short term but offer huge upside potential when held over the long run. Or get the best of both worlds with this profit play…
Today's tip comes from Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon:
Cybercrime has grown into a full-fledged global security crisis – one that costs the global economy more than $575 billion per year.
Just look at these recent developments:
- Russian cybersecurity firm Kapersky Lab issued a report Monday stating a hacking ring has lifted as much as $1 billion from banks around the world.
- The new White House budget earmarks $14 billion for cybersecurity initiatives.
- U.S. President Barack Obama gathered dozens of CEOs, tech-sector insiders, academics, government officials, and experts at a recent cybersecurity summit.
This underscores that cybersecurity is a high-growth business.
Cybersecurity investments feature the same short-run risks as other high-growth-rate businesses. In other words, they can be volatile. But if held over the long term, cybersecurity stocks can pay off handsomely.
Another way investors can profit from the cybersecurity market without the near-term volatility is to buy shares of the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (NYSE: HACK).
This exchange-traded fund debuted in November and benchmarks the ISE Cyber Security Index. HACK lets you invest in a basket of about two dozen stocks, most of which are small-cap firms with high growth potential.
For a closer look at the $575 billion cybersecurity market and the best ways to invest in cybersecurity, check out yesterday's "Private Briefing": The One Stock to Buy – If You Can't Afford to Spend a Million Bucks a Day…